“The U.S.-China relationship is confronting its most daunting challenge in the forty years since the two countries established diplomatic ties. Current trends portend steadily worsening relations over the long term, with increasingly adverse consequences for all actors involved. Specifically, Beijing and Washington are transitioning from a sometimes contentious yet mutually beneficial relationship to an increasingly antagonistic, mutually destructive set of interactions. The often positive and optimistic forces, interests, and beliefs that sustained bilateral ties for decades are giving way to undue pessimism, hostility, and a zero-sum mindset in almost every area of engagement.”

From A Relationship Under Extreme Duress: U.S.-China Relations at a Crossroads by Michael D. Swaine, Senior Fellow, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Written for the Carter Center’s symposium to commemorate President Carter’s 1979 decision to normalize relations with China. View or download the paper here.

Credit: Carnegie Endowment for Peace